(This is a general debate on how serious the issue of overpopulation is to mankind. It was inspired by this post by ZPG Zealot, though it is not intended as a response to it).
Cards on the table: I’m not convinced that overpopulation is the cause of most of our problems, nor that a gradual reduction in our population would solve them. However, I confess that my knowledge of some of the issues is patchy, hence starting the thread.
I’m not sure that you can just say: Resources=fixed, Population=exponential growth, therefore: catastrophe. People have made predictions based on this reasoning many times in the past and been wrong, famously beginning with Thomas Malthus.
People will point out that there are famines, water shortages etc already. But I suspect that between ‘economic development’ and ‘fewer people’, it’s the former that would make more of a difference to the third world in these respects.
Of course our population cannot increase forever, and most detailed population estimates believe that it won’t. Our population will plateau in about 2050 at a time when much of the developing world will have developed.
The population at that time could be a frightening-sounding 10 billion…
The question of this thread is: should we expect a proportional increase in war, famine, disease, pollution etc?
FWIW I’m in favour of birth control, education etc.